In today’s COVID-affected world, I suspect most Tasmanians would be very surprised to learn that the federal government is rushing to implement a new system for training GPs that risks upending GP training and retention at the worst possible time.
This radical nationwide overhaul of GP training being proposed by the government will mean the introduction of a new training system that lacks adequate detail, and which hasn’t been properly consulted.
Worse, this new system has a completely unrealistic implementation timetable and is creating confusion in GP training at a time that our health system needs certainty.
General Practice Training Tasmania is the only accredited provider of GP training in Tasmania.
Each year, GPTT places and trains up to 38 GP registrars within Tasmania, from a federal government investment of $6 million. As each training placement takes three years, this means that at any one time GPTT is working with around 120 GPs undertaking their training across the state – that’s approximately 20 per cent of the current Tasmanian GP workforce.
Very importantly, 75 per cent of the GPs we train choose to live and work in Tasmania following successful completion of their training, creating a stronger Tasmanian health system – especially in our rural communities.
This year, 34 general practitioner registrars began training with GPTT in medical practices around the state.
As we all know, our hospital and health system is under strain even without the looming threat of a COVID outbreak.
The role of GPs in our community has always been vital, but never more so than now when we are battling the COVID pandemic and our GPs are rolling up their sleeves to help with the vaccine roll-out.
The government’s proposed changes lack detail; haven’t been properly consulted with key stakeholders and the broader community; and have an unrealistic implementation timetable.
Building a whole new GP training system from scratch when you have a system that is working well simply makes no sense. Particularly if it happens at the same time as you are battling the biggest global pandemic in a century.
For these reasons, GPTT is calling on the government to defer the proposed changes for a further 24 months to allow for proper consultation, detailed preparation work and for the worst of the COVID pandemic to have passed.
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